Sibling rivalry sometimes can be a good thing. However, constant bullying and favoritism can cause psychological problems. A new study led by Dr. Corinna Jenkins Tucker was published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics. The study shows that aggression by a brother or sister is linked to significantly worse mental health in children and adolescents when compared to kids who haven’t been bullied by their siblings. Although a fight between siblings is often shrugged off by parents as normal, parents should make sure this sibling relationship doesn’t go too far. Fights between siblings are the most common form of family violence, yet they are often overlooked.
One-third of the children in the study reported being victimized in the previous year by a sibling.
- Their scores were higher for anxiety, depression, and anger.
- The effects of mental health distress in those who were bullied were much higher than in those who were not.
Most people minimize the effects of child-on-child bullying, thinking that damage is not being done. However, many of the psychological issues that kids develop because of their brother or sister can continue into adulthood.
Dr. Tucker recommends that programs and public service announcements, which are generally aimed at school violence, include a focus on sibling relations.